Burn Survivor's Journey - OLLI at University of Texas Medical Branch
OLLI Members Create Lifelong Memories During Educational Tour of Rome - OLLI at University of Arkansas
2018 SRCLR Hosted in the Rocket City - OLLI at University of Alabama in Huntsville
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Greetings from the NRC    Nov 2018 15
Writing this on the way home from the 2018 Osher Institutes National Conference and reflecting on that experience brings me such admiration for the work you all do. The many stories I heard you recount about the life changing, lifelong learning activities you lead reinforces the pride I have in being part of this worthwhile work. We are collectively involved in a movement that continues to pick up steam. It brings purpose and good health to hundreds of thousands of older adults. It brings joy to leaders and participants alike - whether volunteers, staff, or student/members - who have been involved for decades or just for days.
Sharing ideas and practices is the most important ingredient in our success. There is obvious delight on the faces of volunteer leaders and staff members as they engage with their geographically far-flung colleagues at these Conferences. It quickly bridges the thousands of miles between our programs.
If you haven't experienced an Osher National Conference, you can still benefit from it back home. Please call on your two Osher Institute representatives who attended the conference to recount some of the Conference content for you and perhaps make short presentations on the sessions they experienced. Plus, in the coming weeks, my Osher NRC colleague Kevin Connaughton will edit and post many of the Conference sessions as archived videos (or audio tracks with accompanying PowerPoints). Please put the resources at Osher.net to good use. Share the learning and enthusiasm locally!
For anyone interested in the wide spectrum of Osher Institutes, these National Newsletters offer a monthly sampler of ideas and successes from across "Osher Nation." This month we feature stories that will inspire you from OLLIs at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

To those who shared so generously at the Conference, my sincere thanks. To all who work throughout the year and throughout the country to make their own Osher Institutes succeed, please know you are in outstanding company.
With gratitude,

Steve Thaxton, Executive Director

OLLI at University of Texas Medical Branch
Burn Survivor's Journey
In the book, "Burn Survivor's Journey: Real Stories of Challenge, Strength, and Triumph," UTMB OLLI Director Dr. Michelle Sierpina and Amy Barrera-Kovach have complied an anthology containing the stories of 17 previously treated burn survivors' journeys of recovery. Made possible by a grant from University of Texas Medical Branch President's Cabinet in 2014, the book was developed by both burn survivors of UTMB's Health Blocker Burn Unit, one of the world's most productive burn care and research facilities, and members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute writing group, who have mastered the art of compassionate interviewing techniques to help guide the storytelling efforts of the burn survivors.

This book helps meet the needs of the survivors as well as inform physicians, physical therapists and social workers on the burn recovery team. To illustrate,
Burn Survivor's Journey cover
when asked about advice for readers of the book, Dr. David Herndon, chief of Burn Services at UTMB health remarked, "It's very important for the future that we involve burn survivors in every aspect of care...we need them to advise us on what's been important to them as they survived." Although a burn injury can be a catastrophic event, it is the goal of the authors and collaborators of "Burn Survivor's Journey" that burn patients, survivors and their families can be comforted by the power of storytelling and the help and encouragement of fellow survivors by reflecting on the struggle, vulnerability, gratitude and spiritual healing that comes with overcoming hardship and injury.

The collected works, available in English and Spanish languages, are given to patients in UTMB's Truman G. Blocker Burn Unit, in the hopes that these real stories of individuals from different social and demographic backgrounds may offer hope, encouragement, support, and community among survivors. Those who wish to purchase copies of the books may purchase them only at OLLI. All proceeds support the Blocker Burn Unit Volunteers.
Submitted by:  Michelle Sierpina, OLLI Founding Director, OLLI at University of Texas Medical Branch

OLLI at University of Arkansas
OLLI Members Create Lifelong Memories During Educational Tour of Rome
Fifteen  Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  students recently concluded an eight-day class and educational tour of Rome. The trip, organized by the University of Arkansas Rome Center and the Office for Study Abroad and International Exchange , was the first of its kind for OLLI and marked the institute's 10th anniversary.

According to Davide Vitali, director of the University's Rome Center, "This was the first opportunity for the Rome Center to provide outreach and engagement to broader audiences of the university's academic community. We are thrilled to be able to provide tailored educational and cultural experiences to an even wider range of learners."

Tom Paradise, University Professor in the Department of Geosciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and a charter instructor and OLLI member, designed the extensive itinerary. He also guided the group members throughout their visit to the Eternal City.

"Having lived, worked, and conducted research in Rome over the years, this was a rare and fun opportunity to share my experiences of the city with our unique OLLI students from Arkansas," Paradise said.

OLLI students visited many of the city's historically significant sites, such as the Roman Forum, Pantheon, Colosseum, and the Vatican, in addition to daily walks through Rome's diverse neighborhoods. Consuelo Lollobrigida, University of Arkansas Rome Center faculty member and adjunct professor for the Fulbright College, presented a lecture for the students on the history, artistry and architectural details of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. It gave the OLLI trip participants an expert frame of reference before their visit.

The itinerary also included a trip east of Rome to Villa d'Este and the celebrated Renaissance Gardens of Tivoli - one of the wonders of the landscaping and engineering world. Tivoli's gardens are renowned for their fantastic fountains, including the magnificent Tivoli Water Organ that plays musical tones as water is forced through the stone pipes of an organ. The Garden's fountains are a unique engineering masterpiece since only the power of gravity drives the numerous fountains. The tour was led by Emilio del Gesso, a professor of art and architecture at the University of Arkansas Rome Center.

"I will treasure the memories of our trip forever," said Martha DeVault, OLLI charter member. "I learned more than I deserved, not only about the history of Rome, but about myself."
Submitted by Josh Raney, Director,  OLLI at University of Arkansas

OLLI at University of Alabama in Huntsville
2018 SRCLR Hosted in the Rocket City
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and OLLI at UAH teamed up August 1-3, 2018 to host the 10th consecutive meeting of the Southern Regional Conference for Learning in Retirement (SRCLR) for the first time on the UAH campus. The conference brought together approximately 200 participants from not only the Southeast Region, but also California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah.

The purpose of the conference was to explore programmatic innovations for
Participants at SRCLR
modern seasoned  adults in the areas of curriculum, marketing, volunteerism, travel, and more! Participants attended 25 concurrent sessions to help broaden their view in these areas in order to make their programs more effective.  They also had the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker, G. Richard Ambrosius, on how to create mindful, empowered cultures within their organizations. Other speakers included:
  • Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle;
  • Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC);
  • HudsonAlpha Researchers Dr. David Bick, Dr. Nick Cochran, and Dr. Neil Lamb;
  • Candi C. Williams, State Director of AARP of Alabama; and
  • Best-Selling Author Homer Hickam
The conference would not have been possible without the contributions of local and national sponsors Grand Circle Travel, Campus CE, Davidson Technologies, Road Scholar, Odysseys Unlimited, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Entrinsik, Xenegrade, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Alabama AARP, and the Osher National Resource Center.

If you were unable to attend the conference and would like to review materials from some of the sessions presented, please visit the post-conference website at Osher.uah.edu/SRCLR2018materials. Please join us in Wilmington, North Carolina on July 29 - 31, 2018 for the next SRCLR!  

Submitted by Alissa McKinnon, Program ManagerUniversity of Alabama in Huntsville

2018 Osher Institutes National Conference
The 2018 Osher Institutes National Conference; held in Scottsdale, Arizona from October 22nd to October 24th; has just come to a close. We were fortunate to have wonderful Arizona weather and wonderful presenters. The conference provided ample opportunities to network, learn, and celebrate the mission of
 lifelong learning. Osher Institute directors, staff, and member leaders from all over the country attended. Each of the 122 Osher Institutes sent two representatives: one staff member and one volunteer leader. This year, we saw more than 270 attendees; including participants, guests, and speakers. Programming for 2018 included a keynote session, four plenary sessions, three breakout sessions, and facilitated discussions. Additionally, there were numerous opportunities for networking, collaborations, and informal conversations. The Arizona weather afforded morning walks, outdoor meals, and even relaxing by the pool.
Plenary sessions included a presentation on fundraising by author and consultant Kim Klein of Klein and Roth, and a presentation on diversity and inclusion from Dr. Destiny Peery from Northwestern University. The keynote address was presented by noted Nobel Prize winning author Dr. Elizabeth H. Blackburn. She presented on her
Susan Hoffman and Susan Chamberlain from OLLI at University of California - Berkeley
research into Telomeres and the effect these compound structures have on aging and health.
The numerous breakout workshops included content on instructional methods, aging, course content, fundraising, working with your school or university, leadership, volunteerism, recruitment, marketing, and technology. Attendees repeatedly expressed their gratitude to The Bernard Osher Foundation for their generous support of the National Conference. Overall, 2018 provided another great conference; the topics were all relevant, the food was fantastic, and it was great to network and hear from others. A special thanks goes to the volunteers and assistance from Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Yavapai College.
The Osher Institutes National Conference is a sesquiannual, multi-day meeting that has been held at intentionally varied locations throughout the country since 2003. The Conference is fully funded by The Bernard Osher Foundation, and produced by the National Resource Center for Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at Northwestern University in collaboration with leaders throughout the Osher Network of Lifelong Learning Institutes.

If you have interest in being a presenter or have ideas for future National Conferences, please contact Kevin Connaughton ([email protected] ). 

An Advice Column for Osher Institute Staff and Volunteers
dearolliDear Olli
Dear Olli,
As I get older, I've begun to develop mobility issues that affect my daily life. What sorts of aids and options are available for me to use at my OLLI to help me get around more easily? 

~Interested Reader
Dear Interested Reader,
Your OLLI Director should be your first point of contact for your accessibility needs of all kinds. Each OLLI is committed to equal access for persons with disabilities, and will make every reasonable effort to provide accommodations. Furthermore, host universities and colleges typically have an ADA or disability services office to consider and coordinate requests for accommodations. The more advanced notice you can provide, the easier the process will be to receive your accommodations. 


Have a question for Olli? Please send it in care of Kevin Connaughton ([email protected]). 

Educational Travel Ideas from the OLLI Network
The OLLI Traveler
OLLI at University of Utah
Paris: A Movable Feast
Stroll the boulevards and banks of the Seine and indulge in the feast for the senses and the intellect that is the City of Light! Whether you're visiting Paris for the first time or have been anxiously awaiting a return trip, this 5-day "Go Learn" experience will guide you through the abundant riches of Paris's literary, artistic, historical, and culinary traditions. E xplore Paris's stunning architecture and urban vistas, unique neighborhoods, legendary museums, and of course the magnificent cuisine of the world's most beautiful city.  Learn more about this trip to Paris .
Dates: May 19-25, 2019

OLLI at Louisiana State University
Cajun Pride Swamp Tour
Cajun Pride Swamp Tours is a privately
owned wildlife refuge just 25 miles from New Orleans. Join OLLI for a unique and educational journey back to the early days of Louisiana bayou and swamp by an authentic tour. Two  miles after the swamp tour, there is an option of going to lunch at Frenier Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar.  Learn more about this day trip .
Date: November 7, 2018

OLLI at Boise State University
Best of Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park's past and present volcanic and tectonic activity is the foundation of its unique ecosystem and the ecological connections that make it so alluring. Join a park naturalist for a field study showcasing this UNESCO Heritage Site where landforms, together with climate, elevation and time, have resulted in a grand diversity of flora and fauna. Interpretive walks and field trips reveal wildlife, geology, forest, wildflowers and thermal features, as well as the park's human history and current issues.   Learn more about this trip to Yellowstone.
Date: May 19-25, 2019

Quick Tips for Helping Operate an Osher Institute
didyouknowQuick Tip - Potluck Dinners
With Thanksgiving coming up this month, one idea for OLLIs to celebrate the holiday is to host a potluck dinner honoring OLLI staff, volunteers, and guests who have helped contribute to the program. For the potluck, consider sharing food, volunteering to set up the event, and reflecting on the meaning of the holiday with other OLLI members. For example, Cal State University at Dominguez Hills will bring together their International Student Services and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute to host their annual Thanksgiving Celebration on Wednesday, November 21st. All guests will have the opportunity to reflect on the past year and to share what they are thankful for on a cut-out leaf and share it on the "Tree of Gratitude." Coming together for shared meal this month could be a great way to reconnect with other OLLI members to share traditions, stories, memories, and gratitude.

  Career Openings in the OLLI Network
jobboardJob Board
OLLI Member Relations Coordinator  

Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

Office Assistant, OLLI

Is there a staff opening at your Osher Institute? Please send it to us at  [email protected]